A Rebuttal To The Horrendous GQ Article on Ben Carson

I rarely criticize people or politics. I don’t do it, simply because I know that each side in a discussion has good reasons for their views, and even though I may or may not agree with them, live and let live. However, with the recent article that GQ (a reasonably major magazine) put out which lampooned a president candidate with the audacious title of “F-ck Ben Carson” [replace the “-” with letter of choice] – the hypocrisy was so great in my mind, I am choosing to break my silence.

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WorldCon and the Aftermath

My boys (ages 12 and 14) and I did attend Sasquan (the WorldCon located in Spokane) this year and it was a first for all of us.

I’ll freely admit that we are new to this convention circuit, so it was with very little preconceived notions that we arrived.

Let’s suffice it to say that the only thing I had to compare it against was a Comic-Con, which WorldCon is certainly not. It is a much smaller venue. Somehow, I’d call it less commercial, which is neither good nor bad. The convention itself I thought was reasonable, but there was a tension in the air.

Much of the tension I won’t even go into simply because I leave this blog to mostly literary topics and I try to leave politics out of the things I might discuss. However, since I mentioned it – I’ll simply say that the WorldCon is also where the Hugo awards are given out, and my kids were actually fairly excited about that.

Behind the Hugo awards, there’d been much gnashing of teeth, both with regards to what was on the ballot and the perceived quality of this year’s works. Suffice it to say that there is an “old guard” established within WorldCon. Folks who’ve been participating for literally decades. And then there was what I’ll call the “new guard” – the ones who only recently came to WorldCon and found the works that had been winning the Hugo awards were unsatisfying.

Being that I and my kids are total newcomers, we didn’t have a particular ticket on this political ride, but into the maelstrom we went.

In fact, my kids were sufficiently excited (because they could participate) that they read the material on the ballots and went about deciding which they thought were deserving of the best of the list.

Since my POV tends to be much more sober and expecting the worst, I’ll try to represent my children’s views and reactions. Let’s just say, I think we’ll be sticking to Comic-Cons from now on.

The picture below is just before us walking into the Hugo ceremonies. They’re excited about it all (yes, that’s my older son’s excited look – what can I say, he’s 14.)

I just find it a pity that they didn’t feel anything other than bewilderment and bitterness toward the people in the auditorium after the ceremonies.


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With Today’s Political Climate Being What It Is….

In today’s society, I find that many people inevitably exist in three states of awareness when it comes to ideology/politics.

1) They are completely oblivious [low-information]
2) They are somewhat in tune with an ideology, but their information comes from hearsay [oftentimes friends and social circles]
3) They are engrossed in ideology/politics and oftentimes this is backed by data, which they can point to, that affirms their beliefs.

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Shh! Currently Scribbling…. and minor status update


And to think that I’m writing something that explains all about the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff limit…..

Yes folks, Rothman’s writing an honest to G-d hard SF novel … the working title is THE PRIMORDIAL THREAT.

Leveraging all of my technology expertise, the computer side is easy. However I did lean on some rather famous astrophysicist that folks have seen on TV to make sure I didn’t make any eye-roll-worthy mistakes on the edges of theoretical physics. I was mildly surprised that I got the green light with only a few tweaks here and there.

First draft completion is scheduled for the end of July, followed immediately by some heavy editing and then distribution to alpha readers (you know who you are.)

Oh – and at least two of the other manuscripts I’ve long-ago finished are waiting for a home – I hope to be able to announce something soon, but these things sometimes take time. No … more time than that – it’s sometimes glacial.

And yes, DISPOCALYPSE is in the final stages of editing. That one will soon go into the submission bucket as well.

Of course, for many of the items in submission, I already have blurbs such as:

“Rothman skillfully mixes elements of wisecracking fiction with Indiana Jones–style mystical artifacts, and he brings the whole novel to a well-turned cliffhanger ending.”  [Kirkus Reviews]

“Michael Rothman’s THE CODE BREAKER is an engaging, fast-paced thriller with a great premise and very real characters. Will please fans of Dean Koontz and The Da Vinci Code.”
— Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Between the Stars.

“Michael Rothman’s THE CODE BREAKER takes the reader on a roller-coaster of a ride, moving from intrigue, to excitement, and beyond that into the realm of profound.  This isn’t just a good book, this one is truly epic.”
— David Farland, New York Times Bestselling, Award-winning Author

“Michael Rothman delivers a taut YA thriller that offers an abundance of intrigue, wonder, and adventure. A powerful and promising new series!”
— David Farland, New York Times Bestselling, Award-winning Author

Why Diversity In Literature Is Such a Hot Button, and What To Do?



Diversity in Literature?

The word “diversity” is a hot button in today’s society, and it is so for several reasons.

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you’re on, I think the vast majority of people have no issues with differing cultures, religions, and racial profiles of people.

Given that, why is diversity in literature a hot button nowadays?

Simple – it depends on what diversity means to you.

Oftentimes (conservative viewpoints), people see forcing diversity as inherently being unfair because it is an attempt to compensate or balance the scales in an inorganic manner. An example in the real world would be that there is a lawsuit against Harvard by a group of Asian students who find that they needed SAT scores that were about 140 points higher than white students. Diversity leads to bias. Bias leads to racist behaviors.

While others (liberal viewpoints), feel that we must value our diversity in order to work together for the common good of our society/world. Diversity makes a better world by ensuring that everyone is exposed to a wide variety of types of people.

So in one view, diversity yields a racist outcome. The other sees diversity as a means to improve society.

It doesn’t help when you have people trying to force diversity by excluding sets of authors or types of books. http://www.xojane.com/entertainment/reading-challenge-stop-reading-white-straight-cis-male-authors-for-one-year

Hard to imagine two views more separated by a giant chasm, is it?

Given that most people have no issues with the vast majority of the world’s population and the different types it contains, it would seem a reasonable first step to include different types of people in our books. Sometimes, authors don’t give the race or background of their characters much thought. It isn’t overt, but it’s akin to not bothering to mention what kind of clothes they’re wearing. Maybe it didn’t dawn on them to describe it or it wasn’t important in that context.

If you typically write anglo characters without thinking much about it, maybe toss in a few other types, just because. Or if you typically write characters of color, there almost certainly should be some variety in your writing too.

Again, nothing forced – but it’s like paprika. Not a strong seasoning, but adds a little something.

As authors, it wouldn’t hurt to add a little seasoning to our writing. It is a baby step to mitigate some of the nonsense happening in the literary circles. Let’s face it, some of these diversity advocates are rabid (see the above-referenced URL). They need to tone down the rhetoric. However we can make an homage as well.

As readers who are sensitive to diversity issues, it might make a bit more sense to focus on the story and maybe send a nudge/hint to authors containing a message something like, “Gee, I’d love to be able to see more characters in SF/Fantasy that are clearly from the Indian subcontinent. That way, I could identify more with them.” When some subset of readers get overly agitated about certain things, I’d remind them about the old adage that says, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar.” It applies here as well.

Most people who know me would never expect me to write this, but it does reflect my beliefs.

“Why the hell not?” I say.